Unlike most airline executives Simon Stewart, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s only low cost carrier nasair, hasn’t had to battle declining passenger figures amid the global downturn.
Passenger traffic at his Riyadh-based airline increased from 800,000 in 2008 to 2.4 million last year and maintained a load factor of between 68 and 70 percent.
Instead Stewart has been forced to tackle his own unique set of problems, not least Saudi Arabia’s regulatory environment. “We are paying 117 percent over international rates inside the kingdom,” he says somewhat bitterly of oil prices. “The principal issue is that we didn’t receive or experience the same relief on fuel costs as enjoyed by Saudia [Saudi Arabian Airlines].”